So you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby – what a wonderful choice! While you know it’s best for your baby, you may have questions or concerns. How can you learn more? Where will you turn when you have problems along the way? Even though it’s the natural next step after birth, breastfeeding can be difficult, and sometimes scary, for the first time mom. But you’re not alone in your quest to nurse your baby! Consider adding one of these titles to your at-home library as a quick reference, or to give you some moral support when you’re nursing your baby.
1. Preparing to Breastfeed: A Pregnant Woman’s Guide
Preparing to Breastfeed: A Pregnant Woman’s Guide by Teresa Pitman – By preparing yourself to nurse your baby while you’re pregnant, you can prevent some obstacles that are common after the baby’s birth. This volume is fairly short – at only a bit more than 100 pages – but it is packed with easy-to-read common sense about nursing your baby. From learning the basics about how your breasts work, to parts of the birth process that could impact breastfeeding, to the early days and beyond, this volume covers a lot of ground. One of the best features is the “What you can do now” section at the end of each chapter. Here the author offers exercises you can use to get yourself ready for feeding your baby at the breast, such as talking to your doctor, writing a birth plan, getting to know your body, and exploring your emotions.
2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International is now in its 8th edition. This classic volume was completely updated in 2010, offering you the most up-to-date guidance in breastfeeding management. Book sections range from preparing to breastfeed, to the stages babies will go through as they grow, to overcoming common challenges, like starting solids, weaning, and returning to work. Interspersed in the technical talk are mother’s stories – a chance to feel that you’re not alone in breastfeeding your baby. The “Tech Support” section is packed with answers to the most frequently asked questions about nursing challenges. The “Tear-Sheet Toolkit” – a series of quick reference pages – at the end of the book is worth the price in and of itself. While the book is based on the LLLI philosophy of breastfeeding, it isn’t preachy. Want a more philosophical read about mothering through breastfeeding? Try an older edition of this book.
3. Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher gives moms a framework for mothering, not just breastfeeding. From finding your own comfort zone and defining your own breastfeeding goals to getting in sync with your baby’s rhythms and more, Mohrbacher helps mothers use the tools they already have to nurse smoothly from the start. She helps women feel confident that they are made for this, and that babies come hardwired for knowing how to nurse – but that we sometimes need to give ourselves permission to let that happen. And she explains how it can be done. At the same time, she knows that life doesn’t always work ideally, and so provides solutions to common problems and advice for special situations. If you like this author, you might also consider her recently released book, Breastfeeding Solutions (an FAQ reference book just for moms), or the Breastfeeding Solutions mobile application for smartphone users to make searching for answers even more convenient (just imagine scrolling through the App with one hand, while holding your nursing baby with the other!).
4. The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk
One of the most common reasons for early weaning is thinking your baby isn’t getting enough or that you aren’t producing enough milk. The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk by Diana West and Lisa Marasco is a must-read before you wean your baby. The authors explore not only how to tell if you need to make more milk, but also how you can go about determining the cause of your low supply. The practical suggestions for increasing the amount of milk your baby gets is essential for moms who are struggling.
5. The Breastfeeding Book
If you’re interested in attachment parenting, The Breastfeeding Book by experts Martha Sears and William Sears is for you. Like other authors, they tackle common problems and what to expect with breastfeeding. But chapters about nutrition, breastfeeding products, working, nighttime nursing, and the father’s role in breastfeeding make for a more rounded book than many others on the market. The book is full of illustrations, has a comprehensive index, and a question and answer section in each chapter – all together making it easy to read cover to cover or a section at a time to suit your needs.
6. So That’s What They’re For
So That’s What They’re For by Janet Tamaro is a humorous look at breastfeeding basics and beyond. While other books may read like dry how-to manuals, this one will have you laughing at yourself and feeling more normal despite your challenges. Tamaro has a knack for lightening the mood, validating your feelings during the postpartum emotional roller coaster, and at the same time giving you practical guidance on getting breastfeeding going in the right direction. With illustrations and short sections, it’s easy to read what you need during brief spurts of time – which may be all you have when caring for a newborn!
7. The Breastfeeding Cafe
Want to hear more about other mother’s experiences? The Breastfeeding Cafe by Barbara Behrmann is like a breastfeeding support group in book form. You can read about how other mother’s met and overcame challenges, and how they found joy in nursing their babies. Each chapter contains some narrative from the author, exploring the social and cultural aspects of women’s experiences. But the amazing tales women tell are the most important component of this volume. Sometimes the best way to understand breastfeeding is through women’s lived experiences, and this book provides just that.
8. Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!
Are you expecting twins? Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada is the go-to volume for you. Thinking about nursing more than one baby can be overwhelming. But this book will give you down-to-earth tips for accomplishing just that. The book contains a bit about pregnancy complications that may happen with multiples, and delves more deeply into what to do if your babies are born early (which is common for multiples). From the newborn to the toddler, this book will increase your confidence in nursing your babies.
9. Breastfeeding, Take Two
Did you try to breastfeed in the past, but didn’t have a successful experience? Breastfeeding, Take Two by Stephanie Casemore is for seasoned moms who may be breastfeeding for the first time. Casemore explores many of the emotions you might have about trying to nurse your older child, while at the same time setting you on the path to accomplishment this time around. Women’s stories are included in between chapters about the social milieu of breastfeeding, emotions surrounding mothering, goals and expectations and more. The second half of the book gives steps you can take to move beyond what happened before, and into a positive experience nursing your new baby.
So, what’s the best way to be prepared to conquer breastfeeding fears and challenges? Learn as much as you can. Read about breastfeeding before and after birth. Take a class. Join a support group. Keep the number of a peer counselor or lactation consultant handy. Use the Internet with caution. And have faith in yourself and your baby – you can do this!